Vote For Us

We are nominated for Best of Western Washington Parenting Blog again this year. Voting ends on Friday, so I am asking for you to please vote for us. If you have already voted, thank you for your support. I would also love it if you would forward this to your friends.

The top five will be listed on the Best of Western Washington for the next year.

http://best.king5.com/best/parenting-blog/online-and-social-media/western-washington

Thanks for your support!

Celebrating 500–Post Video

In honor of our 500th post, I created a video highlighting some of the posts of the four plus years I have been blogging. Some may recognize my inspiration for the theme from 500 Days of Summer.

I also want to say a sincere thank you to all of you who read the Will to See and have supported me over my journey. Without your love and support I would have never gotten this far.

Enjoy.

Celebrating 500–Categories

Today is my 500th post. I can’t believe it has really been that many. In celebration of this milestone I am going to celebrate this week with some fun posts. To start out the celebration I looked at my post categories and created an infographic illustrating the number of posts in each category, larger bubble more posts.

500th categories 600px

Stay tuned for some other fun posts later this week.

Introducing a New Design

Today we are officially launching a new site design, yippee! I am very excited. Since Momcomm reviewed the site in May 2012, I have wanted to update the site. Some of our unique elements are still around, like our category names, but other big things have changed, like the sidebars.

Some new features include:

  • Rotating banner on the home page that includes recent posts.
  • Content boxes on the home page that will change as I want to feature certain content areas.
  • Tab box with About Me, Search and Subscribe.
  • Twitter feed in the footer of each page where you can read the latest tweets.
  • Social share icons on the post pages and in the blog feed. Hopefully you all will share what you love.
  • Facebook “like” box in the footer. I you haven’t liked the page, please do.
  • Affiliate links in the sidebar.

new site

A big thanks to Cynthia from NWDesigns for the awesome new site design.

What is your favorite new feature? Is there anything you don’t like?

What I learned at #BBCChicago

bootcampchicagocityI spend this past weekend in Chicago for Bloggy Boot Camp Brand edition, stepping out of my comfort zone, since I didn’t know anyone else who was going. I hopped on the plane and came home with a bunch of new friends and lots of new ideas. The two days were full of speakers that were inspiring while offering a wealth of practical advice on how to leverage the potential of your brand.

This was my second Bloggy Boot Camp and I loved that this one was so focused. It was all about how to use your blog to build your brand and make money using it concurrent with social media. I was really inspired and feel rejuvenated and focused on where I want to take this little blog.

The amount of relevant information is too long to share here so I have distilled my lessons learned to six that I want to implement or at least start before the end of the year. I am excited to incorporate these elements into the next phase of my strategy. They include:

1. Write an eBook – Not only will this help me get published, but it can provide a good marketing tool for the books that I am writing and plan to write in the future.

2. Get my Google+ and Linkedin profiles up to date – I learned why these are so important and why I need to do a better job of using them to tell my story and establish my brand.

3. Update my “about me” page and links to it – It is natural to focus on the more dynamic areas of the site and this is an area that is often overlooked and undervalued. Expect updates here soon.

4. Make a media kit – That way when PR representatives, companies or publishers come to the site, there is a quick takeaway that gives our critical data.

5. Create a brand targeting list and establish mindshare – While the brand universe is infinite, a brand-specific target list will help narrow the focus and facilitate productive connections with PR/Social media representatives.

6. Reach out locally to find new writing opportunities – This is another strategy that is often overlooked and while we are all taught to think globally, it often starts by acting locally.

These are other key takeaways from this year’s Boot Camp will serve as the basis for the next phase in my blog’s strategy.

navy pier 
I met Jen from @LifeWithLevi, Amy from @GrinCheek2Cheek and Jamie from @ToysintheDryer through twitter and then tagged along with them Friday morning.

View from my room
This was the view from my hotel room.

Asking For Input

UntitledLike so many people, I know my to-do list has about 100 things on it and at least quarter those need to be completed this week. It has become so overwhelming for me that when I sit down in the afternoon to work I don’t even know where to start.

One of the things on my list is to fill out my blog content calendar for the rest of the year. I learned about creating a content calendar in Momcomm’s Content Brew class and it has been so helpful for me. That way when I sit down to write I already have a topic and don’t just sit and stare at the computer wondering what to do.

I wanted to throw out a question to you my readers…

Do you have any topics you would like me to cover?

Is there something that you have been wondering related to ocular albinism, vision in general, gastrointestinal issues or feeding tubes? What about technology, anything there? I also write about parenting and family life, do you have a question about either of those or something you want to know about me?

This is your chance to ask me whatever you want. You can submit the questions or topic ideas as a comment below, on our Facebook page, Tweet me or send me an email to sarah @ denike .com.

Vote for Us

The Will to See has been nominated for Best of Western Washington’s Best Parenting Blog and would appreciate your vote.

Voting runs from September 3 to October 12. In order to vote you will need to login via Facebook or using your email address. I promise it will only take a couple minutes and would mean so much to us.
Please go vote for us!

Having Your Space

Recently I have come to cherish my little office space in our house. It is my space to go and work or write in peace, hopefully. Sometimes I have a helper or two visit me.

My office wasn’t always set up in a way to make it useful for me. It was the catch-all for furniture and items we didn’t want to get rid of but didn’t know what to do with. About a year ago, Jim and I decided to really redo my office to make it work for me. Now I have a big desk/work space, plenty of shelf space for books and files for papers and a little TV to keep me company (I like to work with the TV on; I like the background noise). That is not to say that everything has its place.

my office

After working on the kitchen table or couch for at least a year and then having my own space for a year, I realize how important it is for people who work from home to have a space of their own. It doesn’t have to be a big elaborate office — a simple desk can work too. But it just should be a space that is all yours. That way you don’t spend half your work time setting up your space or cleaning it up to feed your family.

In your space should be things that help you work, like note pads, office supplies, storage for reference materials and a comfortable spot for your computer. If you like background noise, having a TV or radio in your space is good too. The most important thing is to make it your own.

I love my little space that looks out onto the front yard and my hydrangeas. Jim has built me two great storage boxes for my papers, since I tend to pile papers. What is your workspace like? Do you have a great view? What one special thing is in the space that makes it yours?

iPad as Laptop Replacement

iPadGiven the nature of this post, it is fitting that I am writing this post as I am on vacation and using my iPad and phone as my only technology sources. I have had my iPad 2 for just over a year and don’t have the cellular version, so I have to be connected to a wireless network. For me this works just fine.

It has taken me some time to get comfortable with the idea of traveling without a laptop, but I can tell you it is totally doable (with the right apps). At home I mostly use my iPad for surfing Facebook, Twitter, reading and playing games. But away from the house I now take it to all my meetings to take notes and use it as my main technology when I am traveling.

One thing I have found to be critical when using your iPad as a laptop replacement is a Bluetooth keyboard and a stand. I bought my original one at Radio Shack in December and it only worked for about a month. Now I have a Logitech keyboard that comes with a case that doubles as a stand for your iPad. I like this one because I can set the iPad at whatever distance I want since they aren’t connected and the keyboard is a bit bigger than the iPad keyboards.

When it comes to apps for your iPad it all depends on what you are using it for. And there probably is an app for everything you need to do. I typically use mine to write, make posts, work on documents and do research on the web. I have by no means tried all the possible apps for each of these things, but these are the ones I have found and like. The apps I use are:

Pages for writing – I write all my blog posts in either Word or Pages first. I don’t like writing directly in WordPress, it makes editing more difficult. Pages can be used for note taking as well. It allows you to import or export documents to Word format.

WordPress app for posting – The WordPress app doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, but enough to put together a good post.

Dropbox to connect to my documents – With the sync mechanism of Dropbox, you can easily view your files on your iPad and then import them in the appropriate app to edit or use them. However, it does only allow you to add photos or video to your Dropbox on the iPad; I am not sure if this is an app issue or an iPad limitation.

OneNote to take notes – I like using OneNote for my notes on posts and research, because it syncs via SkyDrive and I have access to them on my phone and laptop.

Numbers for spreadsheets (although not really happy with this yet) – I needed to create a spreadsheet this trip and downloaded this to try. It is very limited and I will probably keep looking for a different one, even though this app got the best reviews. Luckily I don’t work on many spreadsheets on my iPad.

iWatermark for watermarking photos – This app is very specific and doesn’t do much other than apply a watermark. When I found this one I only needed to watermark the photo.

Photo editing app – I haven’t found one I like yet. I don’t do much photo editing on my iPad. I am currently trying PS Express.

Flickr app for uploading photos to Flickr – Since I use Flickr as my photo repository, this app is easy to upload to my Flickr account. However they don’t have an iPad version, only the iPhone one. It works fine, but isn’t a crisp view like an iPad version would be.

Feedly for reading blogs I have saved in my Google reader – I have tried a few readers and found this one works the easiest. I like how it formats the blogs. Reader apps are definitely a personal preference.

Hootsuite to connect to Twitter – If you are used to Hootsuite, the iPad version is very similar.

Facebook app – This app keeps getting better with each version, however it doesn’t allow you to log in as your page and manage it.

300th post & Getting Critiqued

celebrating.jpgThis is my 300th post. Is it possible that there have been that many? I have been blogging for two and a half years. What better way to celebrate this momentous occasion than to get critiqued by a leading Mom blogger.

Critique

Today, Melissa Culbertson from Momcomm is critiquing our blog. It is an exciting day. I have been working hard on it for the last year, including a huge redesign last fall. I can’t wait to see what she thinks, make sure you read it.

Welcome to new readers who have clicked over from Momcomm. At “The Will to See” I write about the blurring line of motherhood, covering topics like parenting, mom technology, family time, and GI and vision issues. Please look around and hopefully you will become a fan and follow us. I have just completed Momcomm’s Content Brew course (Click here to view more details), so there will be lots of new content coming. But to introduce you to The Will to See. here are a few of my all-time favorite posts.

Favorite Posts

Classroom Snack Police

Splat Goes the Lasagna

If You Give A Mom…

Ode to Gravy

Coming Full Circle

You know you’re a mom when

The Eyes Have It

A Mother’s Intuition

A New Normal

Feedback

I would love to get your feedback, whether you are a new reader or have followed us from the beginning. What do you like about The Will to See? What don’t you like? (Please, constructive criticism only.) Are there topics you are interested that are not addressed or require more attention?

It is my hope that The Will to See can become a great resource for our readers.

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